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Another great day of painting with Plein Air group “Painting Buds”!

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Hunter Farm, Weddington, NC

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Duke Mansion. Charlotte, NC

Today I was lucky enough to paint with a group of Charlotte artists Plein Air Buds. I hope to continue painting with this group as much as I can! It was a wonderful day. The Duke Mansion was in the process of being redecorated, it was interesting to watch. Not much painting was done since I just met many people for the first time and there were conversations and introductions. Hope to be more accomplished the next time I go to paint outside!16195052_10100815174646910_2271659526649153987_n16195386_10100815174317570_1959280178862776418_n16388290_10100815174357490_2443768686008959549_n

I started with a small sketch (above) and then a bigger sketch (below). 16195136_10100815174432340_8842136982458500817_nScratched out the trees that were light on a dark background with the intention to “finish later”. I have a pile of such “finish later” paintings at home… 15966138_10100815174592020_6479656567394046652_n

It is not the result that matters! It’s the process! Like and share if you agree 🙂

 

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With what is going on the political scene right now it is especially important to hear voices of such artists as Deborah Rockman. Her drawings “refer to a cultural linguistic practice that objectifies and dehumanizes women by selectively positioning them in the animal realm, over which man considers himself to have authority. Women are reduced to isolated fragments of the self and filtered through a misogynistic male gaze. Women are critiqued, labeled and deemed sexually desirable or not based on their body type, their genitalia, their facial proportions, their scent, their leg length, their passivity or assertiveness, all of which are crudely paralleled, through language, with animals.”

See Deborah Rockman’s website here.

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When I was in grad school I had to study my own art and artistic process and write a thesis about it. It was then that I discovered the niche where my art belongs in the Art World – a style called Magic Realism.

The term “Magic Realism” was first used by Franz Roh in his book, Nach-expressionismus (Post-Expressionism) written in 1925.  He later used the same term in 1968 in his new book German Art in the 20th Century.  He also called this new development in art “The New Objectivity” (F. Roh, German Art in the 20th Century. Greenwich: New York Graphic Society, 1968, 112.) By using the term Magic Realism Roh is referring to Post-Expressionistic artwork in which some mystery or secret seems to be hidden within the subject matter.  As opposed to Expressionism, “Magic Realism emphasizes the object and the everyday life in new and unfamiliar ways.  Juxtapositions of sharply rendered and detailed elements, both in the foreground and back ground, are used to develop an air of mystery or ambiguity.  They remind us that there are still many mysteries in life.”  http://www.tendreams.org/magic-art.htm

Roh used the following dichotomies to highlight the differences between Expressionism and Magic Realism:

Expressionism: Magic Realism:
Ecstatic subjects
Rhythmical
Extravagant
Dynamic
Loud
Close-up view
Monumental
Thick color texture
Rough
Emphasis on the visibility of the
painting process
Centrifugal
Expressive deformation
Sober objects
Representational
Puristically severe
Static
Quiet
Close and far view
Miniature
Thin paint surface
Smooth
Effacement of the
painting process
Centripetal
External purification of the object
(Roch. 113)

I found more similarities with my artwork among the attributes of Magic Realism than Expressionism.  I believe that my style developed more towards representational, quiet, static images in painting, turning daily life into eerie form, with a thin paint surface, although I experimented with the opposite qualities as well, never finding much satisfaction in them. Some of my works are more surrealistic (Caged and If I Could Have Opened My Heart), while others (In the Room With Memories or In the Room With the Magic Ball) can be referred to as Magic Realism.

In Art History, Magic Realism acted as a portal to Surrealism, and many artists shifted back and forth from one to another, especially Magritte (Roch, 138).  When I discovered the website ww.tendreams.org  I found a few artists there who I knew before and considered them as influences, but did not realize that they belonged to the Magic Realism group, among them Andrew Wyeth, George Tooker and Charles Scheeler. These artists sometimes crossed the boundaries between Surrealism, Symbolism and Magic Realism. My work also shifts back and forth across the boundaries of Surrealism and Magic Realism, while a large number of other works as you can see on my website www.allaparsons.com are just studies from life: Figure, Still Life and Landscape. I feel the need to work on these Life Studies and I am constantly working to improve my skills in observational drawing and painting. However I consider Magic Realism my major work which takes a longer time to go through the process in my mind, before ripening and appearing, first on sketchbook pages and then on canvas.

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I will be going to Long Pose Figure Study sessions in Raleigh, NC. Below is the info. You can attend 4 sessions for $48.

I will be going there on March 23, April 6, 20 and 27. You can join me on these dates if you want to share the ride. Or feel free to go on any of the dates below in your own car.

Long Pose Figure Study

Saturdays, March 16, 23, April 6, 13, 20, & 27 10:30am-1:30pm

Price for four sessions: $48 general / $40 members, students (ages 18 and up), and educators Drop-In Sessions: $16 general / $14 members, students (ages 18 and up), and educatorsEric

Long Pose Figure Study is a non-instructional session geared towards artists who want to work on one extended pose. It enables artists working in wet or dry media the opportunity to complete a figurative work.

At the first session attended, participants will receive a punch card good for four visits (participants choose four of the six Saturdays). Registered participants can elect to attend the additional two sessions at the rate of $12 per session/$10 for members, students (ages 18 and up), and educators. Non-registered participants will pay the drop-in rate of $16 per session/$14 for members, students (ages 18 and up), and educators. Students and educators must present ID.

Participants are required to bring their own supplies. Easels will be available for use.

A minimum of 10 pre-registered participants is required for the program to take place. To register please call 919.821.2787.

http://artspacenc.org/create/adult/figure-study/

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I was going to publish more stories about my paintings and then a friend asked “Why the crow?” So I will start from this one.

In the Room With Memories

In the Room With Memories

The crow in the painting “In a Room With Memories”  is a memory from my childhood.  My mother had a pet crow.  The crow just came into the open window one day and stayed to live with us. We gave her name Viktoria (“Vichka”). She loved my mother and hated me, probably out of jealousy,  and sometimes tried to bite me.  I was only 4 years old, I was scared, but fascinated with the crow and was trying to gain her trust.  In doing so, I learned to speak like a crow, but that just seemed to annoy her.  In this painting I am finally becoming friends with the crow and making peace with my memories.

The image of the crow is appearing again in the “Self-Portrait in the Red Turban”. I thought about how the feeling of me being rejected by the crow in my childhood is similar to the feeling of being rejected by the art world. I felt rejected when I heard from someone at about the age 14: “There had never been great women artists.”  At first I tried to argue but I had no facts to prove the opposite.  During the 1970s in the Soviet Union no one knew about Artemisia Gentileschi,  Georgia O’Keefe, or Lee Miller.  It was obvious that all “great artists” of both present and the past were men, especially those who chose to join the Communist Party.  I heard negative remarks about “women’s art” which was often considered unimportant and limited to flowers and such.  At the same time in the United States Linda Nochlin’s 1971 article, “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” was published.  It is ironic that the same words that empowered women artists in the United States made me give up my dream of becoming an artist in the USSR.

Self-Portrait in a Red Turban

Self-Portrait in a Red Turban

The image of the crows in this work represents great artists whom I envied and wanted to join but was rejected.  Just like being rejected by the crow in my childhood with whom I wanted to be friends.  There is a statement in this work that I do belong to the art world.  I state this by representing myself in Van Eyck’s famous red turban and by painting crow feathers on my coat.  This connects me to the art world as well as to the crows’ world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

crow

 

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OK! While I really should be in my studio, painting, I will spend a little more time in a virtual world, boasting about myself. Actually, about having a great friend, a poet, Tom Kirby-Smith who wrote a great poem about my art for my book:

MAGIC CASEMENTS
“ . . . magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn”
–Keats

Alla Parsons’ paintings speak to me
As in the song, “Do you see what I see?”Window
Her gaze transfigures all that she beholds—
Clouds, faces, trees—the sunlight that enfolds
Those creeping wavelets, distant church’s spire—
Bare-breasted angels on bright wings aspire–
A croissant on a plate, a pot of tea,
Two smiling women—suffused with mystery—
As Jane Ann wrote me, “haunting, mystical”–
All Alla! But not one bit egotistical.
“Come to the window; sweet is the night air,”
Said Matthew Arnold to his lover there
Above the Dover cliffs. Let Alla call us
(What happier invitation could befall us!)
To share the windows of her soul, and see
Within those magic frames the mystery
Transforming common things until they seem
“The glory and the freshness of a dream”
As yet another poet wrote. Open this book,
There’s nothing else to say. Just, simply, “Look!”

Tom Kirby-Smith

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